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tBBC Making The List: Stephanie Hightower

Discussion in 'News' started by jcollingsworth, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. Making The List: Stephanie Hightower
    jcollingsworth
    via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
    Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


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    (photo courtesy of www.davidmadison.photoshelter.com)

    In with spring comes the fresh air of blossoming flowers, slight refreshing breezes, and the lung curling exercises generated by fans at Track and Field events. Fans of Track and Field are a rare breed, not quite as we envision football, basketball, even baseball fans. There is an involvement that often seems scattered until the action begins. I personally am a fan of Track and Field, so I feel I speak from experience.

    This week for Making the List as I was trolling my notebook and the internet in search for the one worthy Buckeye that I could bring some homage to for their past and current greatness in my own little way – even if briefly – I came across the obvious person.

    Stephanie Hightower was a four-time All-American and 15-time Big Ten Champion when she lettered at Ohio State from 1977-80. Hightower went undefeated in four years of Big Ten competition in her storming towards conference, NCAA, and National Championship titles. Her undefeated streak ran from 1977-80 in the 60-meter dash, 60 meter hurdles and the 100-meter hurdles. Furthermore, Hightower held 11 Big Ten and Ohio State records and set a world record in the 60-yard hurdles before being named to the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team in the 100m hurdles.

    In what should have been a fitting conclusion – the Olympics – such an honored and earned position would simply not be. In 1980 The United States boycotted the games which were being held in Moscow for the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Hightower would miss out on the 1984 Olympics as she would be the odd person out in a four-way tie at the Olympic Trials. The photo finish of her race is the closest elite race in history. The photo of this race would be used later for instruction in the usage of photo finish devices.

    Stephanie’s indoor 55-meter hurdles still stand as the best in the Buckeyes record books with a time of 7:47 – holding strong since 1980. Her Indoor 60-meter hurdles back in 1979 at 8.17 come in 4th best on the Buckeyes record books.

    Following her track career, Hightower has maintained a recognized professional career which includes noted leadership roles in the Columbus community. In 2011, Hightower was named president and CEO of the Columbus Urban League and prior to that position was vice president for Institutional Advancement at Columbus College of Art and Design. Hightower also served on the Columbus City School Board for eight years.

    Maintaining an active role in U.S. Track and Field, Hightower was named president in 2008 and was the team leader for the U.S. Track and Field team at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

    I also feel a need to mention that she is the niece of Buckeye and NFL legend Paul Warfield.

    I am proud to include Stephanie Hightower in my growing tributes of Making the List. The purpose I hope that I display in my choices is that of a great athlete from our beloved community of The Ohio State University. It is important too to take into account many other factors – which include contributions once the spotlight has been lowered. In the case of Stephanie Hightower I cannot think of any other Buckeye who has quietly gave of herself back to the Columbus community more than she has. Stephanie is a great Buckeye this simply cannot ever be questioned. What makes Stephanie’s overdue notice even more appealing, at least to me, is the undoubted humility we would witness if she would be standing before us and we told her what a great Buckeye she was – because – ultimately – what is of importance to Stephanie is fairness and justice in our community.

    The post Making The List: Stephanie Hightower appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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